A Dutch woman in her 60s drowned after falling into the river at Elk Falls today, according to Campbell River RCMP. Elaine Hall, a visitor from Langford, took this picture of first responders at the scene.

A Dutch woman in her 60s drowned after falling into the river at Elk Falls today, according to Campbell River RCMP. Elaine Hall, a visitor from Langford, took this picture of first responders at the scene.

Dutch tourist dies after falling into B.C. river near waterfall

A woman in her 60s was touring Vancouver Island with her husband when she fell into the river

A woman drowned near Campbell River Thursday after falling into the waters at Elk Falls, according to the RCMP.

The woman, a Dutch tourist in her 60s, appears to have slipped into the river after trying to recover an apple, said Cpl. Ron Vlooswyk, a police spokesperson.

At 2:20 p.m., police received a report about “a wife of a tourist” being sucked into the water near Elk Falls.

The report, made by a third party, was unclear because “the husband could speak only broken English,” according to an RCMP media release.

“We could understand that somebody was under the water at Elk Falls,” said Vlooswyk. “Police immediately scrambled, got down and began the search of the area to get more details.”

They found the man near the falls.

“He said that his wife had slipped and fell into the water,” Vlooswyk said. “She yelled for help and then that was the last he saw of her.”

Vlooswyk said that police immediately notified BC Hydro, which shut down water flows at the John Hart Dam, which is located just upstream, to help search efforts.

An RCMP helicopter and a drone both scanned the water.

First responders at the scene included police, fire, search and rescue, and ambulance services. BC Hydro staff were also present.

Hikers were sent away from Elk Falls Park by first responders on Thursday afternoon as the search took place. At around 4 p.m., police cordoned off the trail leading to the falls from Brewster Lake Road.

A helicopter could be heard making repeated passes in the canyon, and a group of tourists returning from a hike said there were at least 25 rescuers at the scene.

The woman’s body was found in the area above the falls. She was recovered from the water at 5 p.m., Vlooswyk said. She appears to have become stuck in the fast-moving waters above the falls, he said.

A Dutch-speaking police officer was brought in to support the husband, according to the RCMP. The police are also liaising with the Dutch consulate to support the family. Meanwhile, the BC Coroner is taking over the investigation.

Vlooswyk extended his sympathies on behalf of the local police. He added that it’s not the first time this kind of tragedy has occurred at Elk Falls.

“I’ve personally been out there on similar incidents where somebody has slipped on the water, but they have actually gone over the falls,” he said. He said it appears that she was reaching for an apple when the tragedy took place.

“I believe it was an apple that was in the water and she tried to grab for it,” he said. “That’s what caused her to slip and fall.”

The incident took place just hours after BC Hydro issued a public safety notice telling people to stay away from Elk Falls due to higher water flows that were due to begin at 2 a.m. Friday.

BC Hydro said in a statement released on Thursday morning that it planned to increase water flows threefold that night following a malfunction at the old John Hart generating station, and advised the public to stay away from Elk Falls through Aug. 10.

The statement added that safety signage would be installed on Thursday.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Teagan Hunt (Grade 12) and Aiden Grew (Grade 11) are the 2020 winners of Lambrick Park’s annual Queen & King of the Hill demanding race up Mount Doug’s Churchill Drive. (Photo courtesy of Tom Turnbull)
Lambrick King of the Hill wins Cedar Hill time trial

Aiden Grew sets course record for gruelling King of the Hill run

Shea Smith is one of three creators of The Homeless Idea podcast. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Victoria podcasters talks homelessness first-hand

Three homeless Victoria residents created The Homeless Idea to give themselves a voice

The president and chief executive officer of BC Ferries promises additional reviews to help sustain BC Ferries. (Black Press Media File)
BC Ferries to review expenditures following 43 per cent passenger drop in 2020

Promise from CEO follows new figures showing significant decline in passengers

Local MLA Adam Olsen, a member of the Tsartlip Nation, here seen before the 2020 provincial election, said a new report finding “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people” in the provincial health care system does not surprise Indigenous people. (Hansard TV)
MLA, Tsartlip member says ‘silo’ approach won’t work dealing with racism in health care

Adam Olsen calls for comprehensive approach in dealing with systemic racism

The University of Victoria will mark the eighth annual Giving Tuesday with its Add Sprinkles campaign which collects funds to support various student initiatives across campus. (Photo courtesy UVic Photo Services)
Nearly 150 Greater Victoria groups prepare for eighth annual Giving Tuesday

Last year Canadians raised nearly $22 million in 24 hours

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Paramedics register patients at a drive through, pop-up COVID-19 test centre outside the Canadian Tire Centre, home of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, in Ottawa, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians aren’t currently worried that people in other countries might get a COVID-19 vaccine first. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canadians not worried other countries will get COVID-19 vaccine first: poll

Forty-one per cent of respondents say they want the vaccine to be mandatory for all Canadians

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Most Read